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May 17, 2012

Barnes would welcome AVB at Anfield

Liverpool legend John Barnes believes Andre Villas-Boas would be a "fantastic" replacement for Kenny Dalglish, and thinks whoever becomes the next Reds manager will be helped by the foundations laid by the outgoing Scot.

Barnes backs Villas-Boas for Reds

• Hansen: Reds stars may want out
• Whelan warns Martinez
• Dalglish sacked by Liverpool
• Jolly: Kenny out of time
• Carragher sad to see Dalglish go

Dalglish was sacked by the club's owners on Tuesday after guiding Liverpool to their worst Premier League finish in 18 years and the speculation about who will replace him has begun in earnest.

Former Chelsea manager Villas-Boas, who was removed from his post earlier this season following a turbulent spell at Stamford Bridge, has emerged as an early favourite for the vacant Anfield hotseat, while the likes of Swansea's Brendan Rodgers and Wigan's Roberto Martinez have also been linked.

And Barnes, who won eight trophies during a successful ten-year spell on Merseyside, believes that, in Liverpool, Villas-Boas would find a club better suited to his management style than Chelsea.

"Andre Villas-Boas is a fantastic manager but he wasn't given the support from the Chelsea players, which meant what happened at Chelsea happened," Barnes told ESPN.

"Coming to Liverpool, it would be a different circumstance, because the problem he had at Chelsea was handling the older players and he wouldn't have that problem at Liverpool because there aren't as many older players, and the older players would probably have more respect for the club to do whatever the manager says.

"I think he would be a fantastic manager and still is a fantastic manager - whether he comes to Liverpool, who knows... Andre Villas-Boas was a good manager at the wrong time for Chelsea. Under different circumstances at the right time, he could have been very successful."

Barnes admitted he was surprised by news of Dalglish's departure from the club but is confident that Liverpool's future is bright because of the groundwork put in by the Scot.

"It was a bit of a shock but once the rumours start you know the inevitability of what's actually going to happen," Barnes said. "I feel a bit sorry for Kenny because I think with him Liverpool would definitely have improved on the last year.

"The new manager coming in will come in to a better Liverpool but I'm sure had Kenny stayed that would have been apparent anyway. It is a shock but we have to look forward and hopefully get a man in who is going to be given the support of the fans and the time by the fans and the owners to keep Liverpool heading in the right direction.

"I think had Kenny stayed, Liverpool would have improved and I think a new manager coming in will improve Liverpool. In terms of the players he signed who had not done it at the start, they have shown a marked improvement. I'm hoping for big things from [Jordan] Henderson, [Andy] Carroll and [Stewart] Downing next season and I'm sure they will produce. Unfortunately for Kenny, he won't be there to oversee it."


John Barnes was speaking on behalf of Coca-Cola, official partner of UEFA EURO 2012. Coca-Cola has teamed up with Special Olympics GB to give eight Special Olympics Unified Football® athletes the chance to lead out the England team as official flag bearers. To find out more about Special Olympics GB and Unified Sports, where athletes with and without intellectual disabilities come together to compete on the same team, go to www.specialolympicsgb.org.uk.

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